Carsberg Review

The Carsbergy Review, written by the author Sir Bryan Carsberg is recommending a  number of reforms for the property buying and selling industry of the residential property sector in England and Wales.

The Carsberg Review was commissioned by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). This fact has brought into question the independence of the report and the following findings contained within it.

July 2007 The Carsberg Review is commissioned
September 2007 Sir Bryan Carsberg publishes the consultation paper ‘Residential Property: Regulation, Redress and Competition in the 21st Century’
January 2008 Deadline for submission of responses to the consultation paper
June 2008 Launch of the final report
July 2008 RICS, alongside NAEA and ARLA, host a stakeholder meeting to discuss Sir Bryan’s recommendations
Autumn 2008 RICS publishes a formal response to the report.

Within the report which makes 30 recommendations; it criticises the system of voluntary regulation in the residential property sector for being inadequate and some aspects of the report claims that the introduction of Home Information Packs (HIPs) has not provided the improvements to the home buying process that were intended.

This is contrary to Connell’s solicitors research amongst others, who have stated the positive impact HIPS are having. Ross Bowen, director of their Survey and Valuation department recently said “We recently conducted some research revealing that HIPs have speeded up the time between instruction to sell a property and the exchange of contracts by an average of twelve days.”

Sir Bryan Carsberg, is in agreement with the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) who believes that HIPs should be made voluntary. Both believe that individual house sellers should decide on whether or not to commission a HIP pack to market their property with. This should come as no surprise as the NAEA have been consistently opposed to the Home Information Packs (HIPs) legislation. It would be of interested to poll individual NAEA members to find out their views nearly a year down the line since HIPS came into place; as many agents now see them as another revenue stream. This is obviously appreciated by many agents in the present housing market as many are currently going out of business.

The reports research found that the average cost of a Home Information Packs (HIPs) is around £350.

Sir Bryan Carsberg is well aware of the impact to the planned compulsory Home Condition Report (HCR) being made voluntary had; little or no uptake and this would surely be the case for the HIP too. feel that if the introduction of Home Information Packs becoming voluntary was introduced it would cause the packs resignation to the tried and failed pile.

Would it not be better to develop the packs current benefits further overtime and use the existing structure as a solid base to move forward from?

Are we expected to return to making offers on properties which are in most cases the biggest purchases of our lives with little or no information? To then find out twelve weeks down the line that there is a problem which could have been identified within the Home Information Pack at the start.

After all, currently the only additional required item in the Home Information Pack is the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which in our experience has been widely welcomed by the public. The remainder of the pack is made up of the searches, details of title, lease, etc that would of had to be done by the property lawyer. The main difference now is that we have this information there at the beginning of the transaction.

The HIP provides the buyer with a good informative description of the property prior to making an offer. With the HIP pack in place it means that once there is an agreed sale the process to exchange can be a much quicker process.

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